The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's Fisheries Division is planning two informational meetings on a set of proposed regulation changes that are the result of our efforts to consolidate the Ice Fishing and Open Water Fishing law books.
The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, June 23 at the Gray Regional Office, 358 Shaker Road in Gray, and the second will be on at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 25 at the Sidney Regional Office, 270 Lyons Road, in Sidney.
If passed, the proposed regulation changes will take effect in April 2010 when the Department combines the two law books into a two-year booklet.
"These proposals will help east the process for a much broader rulemaking effort in 2009," said John Boland, director of IF&W's Fisheries Division.
The public is invited to provide comments either in writing or at one of the public informational meetings. Written comments may be sent to John.Boland@maine.gov or mailed to Mr. Boland's attention at 284 State St., Station 41, Augusta, ME 04333.
Most of the proposed changes will affect southern and central Maine. The Department's objective is to increase angling opportunities where possible, further simplify the law book, and save time and financial resources that instead can be used to continue protecting the inland fisheries resource, Boland said.
The following general fishing rules are being proposed for lakes and ponds in Cumberland, York, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Waldo counties, although special restrictions may apply for specific waters:
Proposal Number 1: Lakes and ponds will be open to open water fishing year round. (Note: Two lines per angler, general law.)
Proposal Number 2: Unless otherwise provided by rule, the number of lines an angler may fish at any one time will be limited to two lines while open water fishing and five lines while ice fishing. At no time can an angler fish more than five lines. (Note: This modification in wording for the number of lines that can be fished by an angler at any one time is being made to address the potential for anglers to simultaneously ice fish and open water fish in lakes and ponds in the eight southern counties of Cumberland, York, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Waldo.)
Proposal Number 3: The current statewide aggregate bag limit for salmonids of five fish will be removed. (Note: IF&W management decisions regarding bag limits, length limits, open seasons, etc. for salmonids are already focused at the species level and the removal of this regulation would not impact current management strategies.) Again, the term salmonids includes the following Maine fish species – Arctic charr, brook trout, brown trout, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, splake, and togue.
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